National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

NAEYC is the gold standard for early childhood education accreditation with the benefits being threefold:


Every child deserves access to high-quality early learning experiences. NAEYC-accredited early learning programs are exceptionally well equipped and meticulously measured for indicators of quality in the classroom and beyond. From guidelines for teacher preparation through safety standards, NAEYC Accreditation ensures that programs are safe, well prepared, and intentional about ensuring children’s success. As a reputable indicator of quality, NAEYC Accreditation correlates with children’s greater readiness and success in school and beyond; increased educational attainment rates; and overall healthier lifestyles.

Teaching Staff and Administration

As a facilitator of quality-improvement initiatives in classrooms across the country, NAEYC Accreditation is dedicated to ensuring that teaching staff and administrators have access to the latest research and use the best practices in the early learning field. With over 7,000 accredited programs nationwide, NAEYC offers new programs pursuing accreditation access to a vast network of high-quality accredited programs and research to learn from. Staff at NAEYC-accredited programs report enhanced team spirit and commitment to workplace success resulting from the self-study and preparation processes for accreditation. By ensuring that all aspects of their work environment meet NAEYC’s research-based program standards and criteria, staff have a direct hand in establishing their professional environment and contributing to its success.

Families and Community Relationships

Programs that pursue NAEYC Accreditation join a community invested in ensuring quality early learning opportunities for young children everywhere. In addition to program accreditation, NAEYC has an expansive system of affiliate offices across the country who represent 60,000 early learning professionals worldwide who advocate on behalf of young children everywhere. NAEYC’s resources for families, practitioners, and programs create a web of support and connectivity, making NAEYC the foremost association in the field of early learning.


Below you will find more information regarding the steps for becoming and maintaining you NAEYC Accreditation. Just identify where in the process you are, follow the arrows, and review the information for each step to the side. NAEYC accreditation also utilizes a very specific timeline. Each step of accreditation defines the timeline for the next step. For instance, the first step “Enroll and Conduct Self-Study” is limited to two years. So, in applying for step one, you agree “Apply and Conduct Self-Assessment” within two years. Use the table below the graphic to identify the right timeline for you!

Need more information?

Follow the link below directly to the NAEYC website and read more!


One of the most important things you can do when seeking or maintaining your accreditation is have the appropriate and most up-to-date version of the necessary paperwork. Applications for all steps of the NAEYC Accreditation process can be found on the NAEYC website at or

Having trouble with the paperwork?

If you still have questions or need guidance, we recommend contacting NAEYC Midwest Technical Assistant Consultant, Keisha Spates. Keisha can provider you guidance over the phone or can come to your facility and provide you or your staff with training in any area of the accreditation process. To schedule a consultation or conversation with Keisha, just follow this link:


The process for becoming NAEYC accredited is not easy, but anything worthwhile is worth the work. NAEYC and Indiana AEYC want to make that work as easy as possible and have provided tons of resources. From slideshows to trainings to on-site technical assistance, we have it all below!

Click on image above for full document


Understanding the NAEYC Education Requirements and Equivalencies

Program Administrator Qualifications
Program administrator qualifications (10.A.02) is a required criterion and must be met as part of the candidacy requirements. At least one person must meet the qualifications outlined in this criterion, and this person must be the designated program administrator.
The program administrator has the educational qualifications and personal commitment required to serve as the program’s operational and pedagogical leader.
10.A.02 I-T-P-K Required PP
Criterion can be met in one of three ways:
A The administrator…

  • has at least a baccalaureate degree. [AND]
  • has at least 9 credit-bearing hours of specialized college-level course work in administration, leadership, and management (which can be in school administration, business management, communication, technology, early childhood management or administration, or some combination of these areas.) [AND]
  • has at least 24 credit-bearing hours of specialized college-level course work in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, or early childhood special education that encompasses child development and children’s learning from birth through kindergarten; family and community relationships; the practices of observing, documenting, and assessing young children; teaching and learning processes; and professional practices and development.
B The administrator documents that a plan is in place to meet the above indicators (detailed in Box #1) within five years.
C The administrator can provide documentation of having achieved a combination of relevant formal education and experience as specified in the table titled “Alternative Pathways to Achieve Educational Qualifications of a Program Administrator.”
Evidence of meeting this standard is provided through the submission of documentation in candidacy and renewal, as well as portfolio review, during the site visit.
Staff Qualifications
Criteria 6.A.05 and 6.A.06 are not required but will always be assessed, and they contribute to the overall accreditation decision. Refer to the timeline for meeting teacher qualifications
Teachers Assistant Teachers/Teacher Aides
At least 75 percent of teachers must meet options C—K as outlined in the options guide for educational qualifications At least 50 percent of assistant teachers must meet options A—K as outlined in the options guide for educational qualifications
6.A.05 I-T-P-K Always PP 6.A.05 I-T-P-K Always PP
All teachers have a minimum of an associate’s degree or equivalent.At least 75 percent of teachers have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree or equivalent in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, or early childhood special education, and this training encompasses the development and learning of children birth through kindergarten; family and community relationships; observing, documenting, and assessing young children; teaching and learning; and professional practices and development. Refer to the timeline for meeting teacher qualifications. Assistant teachers/teacher aides have a high school diploma or GED.50 percent of assistant teachers/teacher aides have at least a Child Development Associate credential (CDA) or equivalent.100 percent of assistant teachers/teacher aides who do not have at least a CDA are enrolled in a program leading to a CDA or equivalent, are actively participating in the program, and are demonstrating progress toward the CDA or equivalent.



Click on the image below to access the NAEYC Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions webpage

Contact NAEYC Click here to schedule a consultation today with Keisha Spates, Indiana’s NAEYC Specialist! She can come on-site to your facility and provide training, technical assistance, or answer your questions!

Contact the NAEYC Academy
Phone: 1-800-424-2460, option 3, option 1

2955 N. Meridian St. Suite 120 | Indianapolis, Indiana 46208
P: 1-800-657-7577  |  (317) 356-6884  |  F: (317) 259-9489
Copyright © 2018 Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children